The Kids’ Right To Read Project sent a letter today to the Chair of the Litchfield District’s School Board opposing the removal of several titles from Campbell High School’s upper-class elective “Love/Gender/Family” unit.
KRRP also interviewed Andy Towne, a member of the Class of 2007 at Campbell High School after he authored an op-ed for The Nashua Telegraph about the School Board’s decision in Litchfield.
Here’s an excerpt:
The Kids’ Right to Read Project: The challenges in Litchfield focused on youth exposure to ‘explicit sexual material, rape, murder and drug use.’ Why do you think it is important for youth to read these stories and stories with similar themes?
Andy Towne: Plain and simple, those are topics that people have to deal with in everyday life. High school juniors and seniors don’t have long before they’re out in the real world on their own, so it’s good to know what’s out there, and how their friends might handle certain situations involving those issues. Many high schoolers already have exposure to sex and drug use, so why not talk about it in a structured environment where they can hear other peoples’ thoughts? While they wouldn’t talk about personal experiences in that kind of setting if they weren’t comfortable, they can share their thoughts.
KRRP: Across the US there are many challenges against books under the auspices of ‘child-protection’. What do you think adults should know about youth right to read?
AT: Parents and other adults should know that teachers are trained to teach relevant material to students, and most of the time their decisions on what is age appropriate or not are correct. The teachers have the opportunity to get to know the students and decide what they think the students can handle, when, and in what environment. A lot of kids get exposure to these issues anyways, and reading isn’t going to hurt them anymore. Kids aren’t going to read literature and decide to do drugs, rape or kill someone, etc.
All of this blog’s coverage of the removal of Hemingway, King, Lippman, and Sedaris from Campbell High School’s curriculum may be found here and here.